Letters to
the editor

Talking is just the beginning

If there is one good thing to come out of Donald Trump’s grabs and gropes it is the tweets, discussion and articles such as Karen Middleton’s bringing predatory behaviour of men into the open (“The boys on the bus”, October 15-21). Does the all-too-common bad behaviour of a minority of men, particularly in positions of power, resonate with a majority of women? From my experience it does, but we feel powerless to say or do anything. More discussion is needed to find ways of dealing with this pernicious problem.

– Ingrid Haydon, Long Jetty, NSW

Years of anger

Thank you for bringing out in the open the constantly occurring molestation of women and how this goes unreported. Until these molesters are called to account, as in your article, it will still seem to be okay to do this.

As a teenager, I never exposed numerous molestations and am still angry about it at 60 years old. Education of young women to refuse to accept this behaviour is needed so they feel more confident and empowered in calling to account men who molest.

– Tina Patel, West Pennant Hills, NSW

Remembering our history

Fifty years ago, on Saturday, October 22, 1966, Gordon Barton published an open letter to L.B. Johnson, United States president, who was arriving in Sydney on that day to ginger up Australian support for an ill-fated war in Vietnam. It was a remarkable letter that described the Vietnam involvement as a dirty war and underlined why Australia should not be supporting the US in what, in the end, would prove to have been unjustifiable, irrational and futile. The letter attracted great interest and Barton received thousands of letters and phone calls from people empathising with the message. I was one who became immediately involved with what within weeks became the Liberal Reform Movement and subsequently the Australia Party, the birth of which as its New South Wales convener I announced on television on July 20, 1969, the day of the moon landing – not the most propitious timing. Barton’s intelligence and charisma ensured that the movement so grew in strength that by 1972 the preferences of its candidates were enough to achieve the election of Labor in that year (when the new government announced the end of Australia’s Vietnam involvement) and its re-election in 1974 when the Australia Party fielded 116 candidates. Sadly, Gordon Barton has gone. Yet unfortunately pusillanimous bipartisanship has manifested itself not only in the US, but also in its lackey Australia, both countries repeating the same tragic mistakes.

– John Fisher, former NSW convener of the Australia Party

More problems down to Baird

Thank you, Mike Seccombe, for airing the problems us poor New South Welshmen are currently experiencing with the autocratic Baird government (“Inside the Mike Baird machine”, October 15-21). You failed to include the selective industry protectionism ensured by his anti-protest and mandatory ethanol legislation. (The latter led to the resignation of his own government’s upper house whip.) How about now following up with an investigation into the flawed decision-making process behind the hugely unpopular WestConnex project? It is another outstanding example of Baird’s lack of concern for communities affected by his faith-based approach to ruling the seething citizens of NSW.

– Sue Hobley, Lilyfield, NSW

Reversal of fortunes

After lifetimes of lavish service to whichever financial interests financially support them, an Australian state government finally renounces one of the most morally unredeemed of its patrons, a gambling industry laced with animal cruelty. Following a brutal punitive campaign from the most unredeemed of conservative media interests, the state government abjectly surrenders, a move applauded even by some progressives as a triumph of democracy. This has not been the world’s first outbreak of springtime humanism, but it’s been one of the most easily suppressed.

– John Hayward, Weegena, Tas

Change these plans too

Now that Mike Baird has decided that he was wrong to ban greyhound racing, can he please reconsider the decision that will affect many more of us and change his mind about privatising public hospitals? Oh, and at the same time, selling off the well-placed Powerhouse Museum and moving it to Parramatta.

– Barbara Lyle, Tea Gardens, NSW

Getting the story out

Congratulations again to The Saturday Paper for persistently bringing the issues associated with the treatment of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus before the public view. It is extraordinary that innocent men, women and children have been held in such horrendous conditions despite the vast majority of them having been given refugee status. It is extraordinary that in a time of budget “crisis” the government is prepared to allocate billions of dollars to maintain its morbid fixation about those who come by boat seeking our protection never coming to Australia. Human rights organisation have condemned Australia’s actions yet the government continues to shrug its shoulders at these reports as it did at a recent senate inquiry. What will it take to move our politicians to say this is a bad policy and needs to be revoked immediately? Then and only then will we be able to sing with pride the values we proclaim in our national anthem – to advance Australia fair.

– Michael Schell, Berkeley Vale, NSW

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on October 22, 2016.

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